Koolhoven FK-58C.1 by Azur

1/72 scale
Kit No. A052
Cost: $25.00
Decals: Two versions – French Armee de L’Air, 1940; and a Dutch unarmed version with civil registration, 1939
Comments: Engraved panel lines; photo-etch and film details; highly detailed resin radial engine and wheels; one-piece canopy; fabric-over frame effects on rear fuselage, ailerons and rudder; option for single-part or multi-part propeller with individual blades

History

The Koolhoven F.K.58 was a single engine, interceptor-fighter aircraft designed by Koolhoven under contract by France. Intended for Armée de l’Air use, the F.K.58 saw limited service in the Battle of France in 1940.

In 1937, as it became apparent to the French Air Council that domestic manufacturers were not up to the task of equipping the Armée de l’Air with sufficient fighters for a war which seemed increasingly likely, the Dutch firm of Koolhoven were contracted to produce a cheap, high performance fighter to supplement French production. Frederik Koolhoven had worked as a designer for the British Armstrong Whitworth Company during World War I, and in 1919 he returned to Holland and founded his own company, specializing mainly in sports trainers and airliners. In the event, the Koolhoven F.K.58 was rather better than the M.S.406 and comparable to the Bloch M.B.151 but inferior to the Dewoitine D.520 and most of the German aircraft it faced. Like the British Hawker Hurricane, it was of composite construction with a body of wooden and steel tubing and a skin of metal plates and linen. The wings were made entirely of wood.

The prototype Koolhoven Model 1166 (later named F.K.58) first flew on 17 July 1938. The French placed an order for 50 F.K.58s in January 1939, intended for colonial service. Although the F.K. 58 had superior performance to the Fokker D. XXI, Holland’s front-line fighter at the time, Koolhoven’s design was initially rejected by the L.V.A. (the Dutch Air Force). On the eve of the Geman invasion of the West in 1940, the L.V.A. reversed itself and ordered 36 fighters based on the performance of the second prototype (the first having been destroyed in a crash) but powered by Bristol Taurus engines. But it was too late; German troops invaded and occuppied Holland before a single aircraft of the Dutch order could be delivered.

Unfortunately, only 17 of the French order were completed at the Koolhoven works due to insufficient French-supplied engines and instruments, and they were subsequently sent to France fitted with Dutch equipment. Production was transferred to Nevèrs where just one more F.K.58 was produced. The completed fighters (7 F.K.58s, 11 F.K.58As) were fitted with French equipment and their loaner parts returned to the Netherlands. Even if the Armee de l’Air’s order of 50 aircraft been available for the Battle of France, it is unlikely that the small number of aircraft, outclassed as they were by German fighters, could have changed the outcome much. Had they been employed in their intended role as colonial fighters, they might have acquitted themselves well against the Italian aircraft in other theatres.

Specifications

Crew: One
Length: 8.7 m (28 ft 6.75 in)
Wingspan: 11 m (36 ft 1.25 in)
Height: 3 m (9 ft 10 in)
Wing area: 17.3 m² (186.2 ft²)
Empty weight: 1,930 kg (4,255 lb)
Loaded weight: 2,750 kg (6,063 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Gnome-Rhône 14N-16 radial engine, 768 kW (1,030 hp)

Performance
Maximum speed: 505 km/h (314 mph)
Cruise speed: 450 km/h (280 mph)
Range: 750 km (466 mi)
Service ceiling: 10,000 m (32,810 ft)
Rate of climb: 11.6 m/s (1,130 ft/min)
Wing loading: 159 kg/m² (32.6 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 0.28kW/kg (0.17 hp/lb)

Armament
4 x 7.5 mm FN-Browning machine guns in underwing fairings

The Kit

Azur’s Koolhoven FK-58C.1 is injection molded in grey and consists of 61 injection molded and 10 resin parts. There is a photo-etch fret containing detail parts for the engine, as well as an instrument panel, seat straps, and rudder pedals for the cockpit. The instrument panel is complimented by a film insert for the dials. The cockpit includes raised detail molded into the two fuselage halves comprising the bracing structure. The seat, control stick, and rudder pedals are cemented onto a cockpit floor bearing additional molded and raised detail.

There are small resin details for the cowling, which comes in two halves and will require putty and sanding. The landing gear are detailed and include photo-etch parts, and, if building the armed French version, there are two tear-drop blister packs with two machine guns for the underside of each wing. The resin radial Gnome-Rhone engine is exquisitely detailed, as are the treads of the resin tires. There are also a number of small exterior PE details.

Decals

The kit decals are by Azur and are thin, perfectly in register and have a beautifully glossy sheen. There will be no need for aftermarket decals with this kit.

Conclusion

A beautiful example of a lesser known Dutch-French fighter of World War II. Highly recommended.

References

Azur Koolhoven FK-58C.1 instructions
www.wikipedia.org

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